Debra Byrne, known as Debbie to fans of the show, features on this Young Talent Time 17th birthday special.
She was a hugely popular team member and won the Logie award for best teenage personality in 1974 and 75.
Host Johnny Young leans into the history of the show in his introduction and we see file footage of Debbie’s last performance as a team member where she sings ‘I Don't Know How to Love Him’ from the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.
We also see a short excerpt of her on stage as Fantine in Les Misérables singing ‘I Dreamed a Dream’, written by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil with English lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer.
The excerpts, and subsequent studio performance, give a sense of Debbie’s career success and her incredible voice.
This appearance follows the formula the show developed for birthday specials where successful previous team members are invited back to perform.
She sings a full-throated cover of ‘Tell Him’ by Bert Berns and immediately has the studio audience clapping along.
It is moving to see her go from the young girl in the black-and-white photograph to the accomplished star that she became, seen here giving a captivating performance during her triumphant return to the program.
This excerpt comes from episode 88/11 of the show which was broadcast on 23 April 1988.
Notes by Beth Taylor